We are delighted to provide the long awaited descriptions of GOMI’s exciting theme team offerings for Summer Workshop 2013.
Saltmarsh Ecosystems by Nick Hill, (PhD), member of and scientific adviser to the Recovery Team for the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora of southwest Nova Scotia.
Saltmarshes are as productive as rainforests though much of the energy they trap leaves the marsh unobserved. The energy goes off in floating mats of dead cord grass, flocs of bacteria in muddy waters, in the crustaceans, “krill”, that are the basis of fish populations and baleen whales, and in the migration of millions of sandpipers. Much of what keeps this food web going is produced in the salt marshes lining the Bay of Fundy.
This theme team will look at the connection between healthy farms and the health of the Bay of Fundy. We will focus on how each perennial ecosystem works and what are the similarities between the natural and the “agro-” ecosystem. Each is a perennial system that is maintained by disturbance. Erosion is controlled in each. Mineral nutrients must wait for spring in the natural world but must be controlled in the grazing system using a compost management approach. In each case, microbial associations make the system virtually self sufficient in nutrients. How do the agro-ecosystems fit the landscape and what do their managers do to adapt these farming systems to the land? Common themes in all three systems: perennial, grasslands, predictable disturbance (ice tides, grazing, clipping, mowing), no or little fertilizer, microbial systems….natural manager versus farmer…exports out of ecosystem?
# 2 Climate Change by Ashley Sprague, Restoration Coordinator, and Jennifer Graham, Coastal Coordinator, the Ecology Action Centre.
This theme will explore climate change adaptation planning using the Bay of Fundy dyke lands as an example. This will include review of the general overview of role/history of dykes in the Bay of Fundy with the goal to assess their vulnerability and come up with an action plan.
Following the 6 steps laid out in the Municipal Climate Change Action Plan Guidebooks we will:
• 1 Build a team: we will be the team, but we will have discussion on what other stakeholders would ideally be on the team
• 2 Identify impacts/hazards: Discussion – what are the potential impacts of climate change to the dykes? Build a list of changes (increased storms, storm surge, precipitation, change of growing seasons, flooding, erosion….)
• 3 Visit and assess affected locations: Identify and visit locations within the selected dyke area where issues have occurred or are likely to occur in the future
• 4 Identify Facilities/Infrastructure
• 5 Evaluate social/economic considerations: 1. Identify vulnerable areas on map/from field visit and add Effects to list of changes (damage to buildings, infrastructure, farming, saltmarshes…) 2. Hear presentations from mayor/researcher/farmer to gain local perspective what are the concerns/action priorities for the community? • 6 Set priorities: Look back at list of changes and effects and add adaptive measures and identify priorities 1. Lower greenhouse gas emissions 2. Increase resiliency of coastline 3. Increase resiliency 4. Identify ways to raise funds? 5. Suggest policy changes – what should government do? Prepare presentation of finding to the GOMI community.
# 3 Community Gardens (Improve Your Carbon Footprint) by Acadia University leader to be identified.
The Acadia Community Garden has been in existence since 2008 and it is primarily operated by the work of volunteers, a Farmer in Residence, and the Supervisor/ Coordinator of Sustainability for Acadia University. Youth and team leaders in this theme will be given an introduction to the community garden approach, its function in the community and its evolution. Some unique features to be observed include the herb spiral and experimental food forest. Hands on activities associated with its planning, operations and maintenance will allow team members to gain skills and to evaluate their home team environments as to the possibility of a similar project being created in their regions throughout the Gulf of Maine. This is a very timely theme as we hear increasing promotions of buy organic, buy local, and fight global warming. If you want to join in the climate change challenge and treat your taste buds at the same time this theme may be for you.
# 4 Sharing Your Story: “A Picture’s Worth a 1,000 Words.” by Sue Hutchins, photographer and seasoned theme leader.
This Theme Project will introduce you to the skill of photography, the options available on your digital camera, the principals of composition, and the medium of photojournalism – how to tell a story with your pictures. Working individually or in pairs, participants will contribute to a story-line of their choosing, to be presented to the panel on the last day. They will create both the text as well as the images used in the story. It could be presented digitally via a digital projector, or printed out and physically attached to a presentation board. Requirements: participants will need quality high pixel digital cameras.
#5 GOMI Drifters, by Lucy Lockwood, coastal science education/research consultant
Why did the plastic sewerage discs accidentally released in Hooksett, New Hampshire, spread both north and south as they floated out of the Merrimack River? Do lobster larvae or salmon fry remain in local waters or do they get swept to new locations along the coast? How long does it take a parcel of seawater to travel across the Atlantic Ocean? Where would contaminated water spread from the Seabrook or Wiscasset nuclear power plants in the event of a leak similar to the one in Fukushima, Japan? How might Greenland ice melt, the warming of the Gulf of Maine, and other effects of ongoing climate change alter the general circulation patterns within the Gulf and the larger North Atlantic region?
These are basic scientific questions engaging researchers and marine science centers throughout the Gulf of Maine. This theme will provide students a hands-on, tangible experience of the currents in the Gulf of Maine and how those currents can be studied and modeled.
A key project during the week will be the building and launching of ocean drifters – free floating buoys with satellite transmitters – that will be part of ongoing research efforts by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists to study, track, and model the ocean currents within the Gulf of Maine and beyond. Participants will build the drifters from scratch, test them, and launch them off of Nova Scotia.
After the drifters are afloat, all the GOMI teams will be able to track the drifters’ movements online as each drifter transmits its position to a satellite within the GLOBALSTAR low-orbiting satellite system on a regular daily schedule. The actual position and path of each drifter will be available on the Web through a portal run by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS). The summer drifter workshop is the initial phase in a planned multi-year, Gulf-wide GOMI project that will involve all of the GOMI teams in building and deploying ocean drifters in their own schools and towns.
# 6. Tidal Energy by Dr. Anna Redden, Director Estuarine Research Centre, Acadia University
Bordered by the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the state of Maine, the Bay of Fundy is renowned for the highest tides in the world and equally impressive current speeds — up to 6 metres per second in the Minas Passage. This unique ecosystem is also recognized as exceptionally productive and sensitive, inspiring two UNESCO World Heritage Site designations. In recent years, numerous sites in the upper and lower Bay of Fundy have been identified as suitable for in-stream tidal energy development and one of these sites is home to the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, a tidal turbine test facility in the Minas Passage. The responsible harvesting of energy from this and other sites will require comprehensive examination of the current structures and energy potential, the environmental implications of harvesting energy, and the associated socioeconomic benefits and impacts on communities, fishers and other users. This theme team will examine various environmental and socioeconomic issues related to tidal energy development, and will address potential resource use conflicts, energy/environmental trade-offs, and possible mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts.